Amanda Miska and Cinthia Lozano

Cinthia Lozano
Inspiration Piece

by Amanda Miska

Who’s seen Jezebel?/She was born to be the woman we could blame/Make me beast half as brave/I’d be the same…  -Jezebel, Iron & Wine

 If you stare at the ground long enough, it will seem to rise to meet you, and if you lie in the grass looking up at the stars long enough, they will seem to fall down on you.
If you look at yourself in the mirror long enough, you’ll begin to see the cracks, what’s behind the smile, the small droop in the eyes, hair that badly needs to be washed–or stroked.

We spent too much time alone, but we were always finding ourselves in one-on-one situations. In hindsight, maybe we were making them. The last two hanging in the library, prepping for an exam. The last two at the bar, tossing back shots of whiskey. The only two of our group parked half a mile away in the upper parking lot of the university. We talked like old friends, even though we were new ones. There was electricity in the pauses. Every night seemed to end with our faces close enough to touch, waiting on a train platform or by an open car door in a dimly lit lot.
“Kiss me,” I would say.
“I can’t,” he’d say, then–correcting himself, “I won’t.”
“Just once, just so we know what it’s like.”
“But you want to,” I’d say, more a statement than a question.
Silence was always his response.

We sang off-key late into the night, the last of our crew at crowded local kareoke bar. Slightly sweaty and tired, we plopped down next to each other on a dirty sofa in the back of the bar. I opened my purse to get out a smoke and noticed my cigarettes–and wallet–were gone. I chased down the bartender, asking him to leave a detailed note for the manager in case my things were recovered, then began to cry. I excused myself to the restroom, and when I returned, he was waiting in the same spot on the couch. The music was loud, so he waved me over. The music got even louder, so we sat close, thigh to thigh, and had to talk even closer.
I said, “I feel so stupid. I’m sorry.”
He leaned in and pressed his lips to my forehead.
“There. You got your kiss,” he said in my ear.
“Take me home with you,” I said. He shook his head, then handed me a small wad of cash.
“For a cab. Be safe,” he said, standing up to distance himself from my body.
“I already have a brother,” I told him, standing up and grabbing him by his shirt to pull him even closer to me. He pushed me away, and I stumbled backwards in my heels, landing right back on the couch, watching him practically run out of the bar.

The next night, I found his car where it always was, parallel parked 12 inches from the curb in front of his apartment he shared with his wife. The apartment he almost kissed me in. At two in the morning, it wasn’t so much decision-making as it was pure impulse. The bar of soap and a small bucket of water sat on the floor of the passenger seat. I pulled into the empty space behind him. The pure white bar felt firm, but slippery in my hand. I held it like a child with a piece of sidewalk chalk and scrawled ASSHOLE on his windshield. I took a step back to admire my work, then got into my car and drove away.

I hadn’t felt such calm in months.

He called the next day and asked me to meet him for coffee immediately, his smooth voice like a siren’s song to my lonely heart.  I agreed.
“Was it you?” he said, as soon as I sat down.
I nodded, eyes focused on a stain on the coffee shop rug.
“I knew it. I never, I mean NEVER want to see you again. Ever. We can’t be friends. We can’t be anything.”
“No, I…”
“I almost lost it. I had to tell her it was a random act of vandalism.”
Her. His wife. He was my him, but she was his her. I knew this, I always knew this, but sometimes when we were both working and our eyes locked across the table, I could see his uncertainty. I wanted to excavate it, dig deeper, lay him bare.

I said, “I’m sorry. I feel so stupid.” I reached over to touch his hand. I couldn’t help it.
And he pushed my hand away, got up and left.

I sipped my tepid coffee, all the while watching the door. I said a little prayer, then felt ridiculous for doing so, as though a righteous God would summon a man to return to the woman who would cause him to stumble, like telling Adam, Go eat that fruit she’s holding out to you, man.

Hours or maybe days later, I finally went back home to my echoing walls and cold sheets.

Love is confusing, but lust has a one track mind and wears blinders. Combine the two and the explosion is inevitable, like being possessed, an out-of-body experience. You approach the ledge and jump, the sweet feeling of vertigo washing over you until you’re simultaneously drowning in dark water and looking down over the edge in dry clothes, wanting to rescue yourself.


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  1. Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:03 pm | #

    That was intense.

  2. Posted February 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm | #

    I hope in a good way? ;). The experience of writing it was intense too. Thanks to Cinthia’s inspiration piece (also intense).